Happy Thanksgiving week! We’re only 48 hours away from the big day, so the NHL schedule is a little strange this week. There are only three games on the schedule tonight. The Bruins and Canadiens reignite their rivalry in Montreal. The Wild travel from Manhattan to Newark on the second night of a back-to-back to take on the Devils with a rookie netminder making his first career start. Finally, the Blackhawks meet the Stars for the second time in the last four days.
There’s still plenty to wager on. Let’s take a closer look at two games in particular with my two best bets for Tuesday night:
Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens: Bruins (-115)
The Bruins are seeking some revenge after falling to the Canadiens in Montreal three weeks ago by a score of 5-4. Given the way Boston is playing lately, they should get it. The Bruins have won four of their last five games and haven’t lost in regulation since Nov. 8. Don’t be scared off by Boston playing their “backup” in the front end of a back-to-back that ends in Ottawa tomorrow night. Jaroslav Halak has been really good this season and always has a little extra motivation playing against his old squad.
Montreal has been scuffling a little over the last week and a half. The Canadiens have lost four straight (0-2-2) against inferior teams, including the first two games of their five-game homestand to end the month of November. Goaltender Carey Price has allowed 13 goals over his last three starts and will try to right the ship against the team scoring the second-most goals per game in the NHL.
The key to this game will be the power play. The Bruins have scored on the man-advantage in three straight games, going 4-for-7 in their opportunities. They now have the third-best power play in the NHL, clicking at 31%. Conversely, the Canadiens have one of the worst penalty-killing units in the NHL, allowing a power-play goal 26.4% of the time. I expect that to be the difference in the game.
Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks: Under 5.5 goals (-110)
The Stars are on fire! They’ve won seven games in a row and are on an 12-game point streak (11-0-1). How have they done it? With superior goaltending. Here’s what Ben Bishop and Anthon Khudobin have been able to do in that stretch:
Bishop: 6-0-0, 2.09 GAA, .933 Sv%
Khudobin: 5-0-1, 1.67 GAA, .948 Sv%
Those numbers are remarkable and include a 2-1 shootout victory over the Blackhawks on Saturday. Expect more of the same Tuesday night.
Chicago has cooled down after a nice little 5-0-1 stretch from November 7-17. The Blackhawks have lost three straight, scoring a grand total of five goals. The Blackhawks are back down below the league-average mark in scoring (2.87 goals per game), which is still a few spots higher than where the Stars sit (2.79 goals per game). They’ve still gotten pretty decent goaltending from Robin Lehner when he’s been in, which has been a trend this season. It doesn’t matter who’s in net for Dallas, they’ve been great for the better part of the past two seasons.
As mentioned earlier, the Khudobin-Lehner matchup from a three days ago saw only two goals scored between the two teams in 65 minutes of hockey. Expect another low-scoring game with likely the same matchup between the pipes on Tuesday night.
Season Record: 5-6-1 (-2.5 units)